Copperas Hill hub gets green light | New £100m flagship student development begins in city centre

Liverpool John Moores University has been granted planning permission for a new £100m flagship building on Copperas Hill.

In a prime position in the city centre, the development at Copperas Hill will become the gateway to the city’s Knowledge Quarter and will bring together the University’s Mount Pleasant and Byrom Street campuses. It will lead to the formation of a connected University campus village, with the new building becoming its central focal point and epicentre.

Sue Emms, lead architect for the development comments: “Copperas Hill will be transformed into a friendly, student-centred hub providing a highly visible focus for the University.  A walkway will encourage the public to walk through the building creating an attractive route from Lime Street to the Knowledge Quarter allowing the public to connect directly with the University.  A new central atrium creates a spiritual heart and a sense of place within the building and learning terraces step up uniting all levels, users and activities. 

“The terraces will animate the building externally and connect the city park at ground level to a sky garden on the roof. The highly glazed building will showcase LJMU and be transparent, open and connected. Copperas Hill will be a new destination in the city and create a vibrant heart for the University.”

Building contractors, Lendlease are already on site undertaking enabling works and during May will remove the exterior of the former Royal Mail sorting office to expose the internal frame, which will then form the basis of the new structure.

Currently spread over five floors, the new building, accessible from both Copperas Hill and Brownlow Hill, will be expanded to include two mezzanine floors and use of the roof for sports and recreation. This will increase the floor area from the existing 280,000 sq.ft. to 355,000 sq.ft.

The building will also house the University’s three libraries, which will be combined into one facility for all students within the building, and student zones will also be created around the building to accommodate different methods of working, including quiet spaces and areas for creative and collaborative working.

A new, flexible, central teaching unit will include a variety of lecture theatres, as well as general teaching spaces, seminar rooms and IT suites. These innovative teaching facilities will be available to the entire University.

State-of-the-art sports facilities will include an eight-court sports hall, a gym and multi-use studios for dance and all other sports and fitness activities.

The development at Copperas Hill will also be home to Students’ Union, providing a central location for the sabbatical offices and administrative functions, as well as enabling the Students’ Union to easily access the vast range of facilities for its clubs and societies.

Other facilities and services will include a café and retail space, the University’s World of Work Careers Centre, Student Advice and Wellbeing, Student Administration, and LJMU’s Teaching and Learning Academy.

LJMU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill, commented: “Sometimes the term ‘transformational’ is overused but the impact of the new development at Copperas Hill cannot be over-estimated. Importantly for LJMU it will revolutionise the student experience and the physical shape of the University as well as having a highly positive effect on the city itself.

Here is a structure which lies in a prime, central location of the city, and we are now investing over £100 million to ensure it is successfully regenerated, which will lead to the area once again becoming a hive of activity.

The development at Copperas Hill will allow the University to become a Connected University Campus Village in the heart of the city. The choice of facilities will mean that all students and staff will have a reason to visit and use the new building, encouraging increased interaction and collaboration between different Faculties and subject areas. As a modern civic university, we also recognise our impact on our surrounding areas and communities and, with that in mind, we have incorporated a public route through the building which we hope will enhance civic engagement, in addition to connecting our existing campuses.”

The development is expected to be open for use at the start of the academic year 2018.

The story received local coverage in the Liverpool Echo, North West Insider, Move Commercial, Place North West, and


Image credit: Gareth Jones